|Born:||July 26, 1920|
|Birthplace:||Elmira, New York, U.S.|
|Died:||March 25, 1983(aged 62)|
|Deathplace:||Los Angeles, CA, U.S.|
|NFL Draft||1944 / Round: 5 / Pick: 42 Cleveland Rams|
|NFL Supplemental Draft||/ Pick:|
|Stats at NFL.com|
|Career highlights and awards|
Waterfield attended Van Nuys High School, in Van Nuys, California and went on to play college football for UCLA. In 1943 he led the Bruins to the Pacific Coast Conference football championship. Waterfield's Bruins lost 9-0, in the 1943 Rose Bowl to the University of Georgia.
Waterfield then began his NFL career with the Cleveland Rams with their 5th pick in 1944 in the NFL Draft. He started immediately and was taken in quickly by fans, becoming the first ever rookie to win the league’s Most Valuable Player and unanimous All-NFL choice. Waterfield ended the season with the NFL Championship game in 1945 where he threw touchdown passes of 37 and 44 yards as the Rams beat the Washington Redskins 15-14.
In 1946, the Rams moved to Los Angeles, where Waterfield split quarterback jobs with Norm Van Brocklin. Behind this duo, Los Angeles played in three straight title games, 1949-1951. The Rams won it all in 1951 with a 24-17 win over the Cleveland Browns in the title game.
In a 1948 regular season game, the Rams were behind the to-be-champion Philadelphia Eagles 28-0. Waterfield managed to rally the team for a tie on four late touchdown passes.
In the 1950 divisional playoffs, he was unable to practice due to a severe flu he had endured. However, he came off the bench anyway and threw three touchdown passes in a 24-14 win over the Chicago Bears.
In his first four seasons, he intercepted a career total of 20 passes. As a punter, he had a 42.4 yard average. As a place kicker, he had 315 successful PATs and 60 field goals.
Overall, Waterfield was best known for his ability to throw the deep ball. He led the NFL in passing in the 1946 and 1951 seasons, ending with career totals of 814 completions, 11,849 yards and 97 touchdowns. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965 as a Cleveland/LA Ram, and died on March 25, 1983 at the age of 62.
On April 24, 1943, during his senior year at UCLA, he married actress Jane Russell. The couple adopted three children during the 1950s. Russell divorced Waterfield in 1968.